I was reading on the beach when I noticed the last of a large group descending stairs from the boardwalk. They struck me as atypical, not dressed for sunning and all very quiet. A few held hands as they assembled by the surf, and though most kept their own space, a sense of community hung thickly around them. Intrigued, in the languid way of a people watching Saturday, I snapped a quick photo and sent it to Maggie: “What are they up to, do you think?”
In retrospect, I should have realized they were seconds away from scattering ashes.
There was no eulogy, no conversation. Wordless.
When the ashes dispersed (too quickly, I thought) they walked two by two to the water’s edge and laid a few flowers. As the last flower was placed, they drifted off in smaller groups, leaving as quietly as they’d come, but their presence and what I’d witnessed shouted at me the rest of the day.
When I got home I was stunned to see the photo on a larger screen. This quick little shot–meant only for text and immediate delete–is one of the best pictures I’ve taken in so many ways. The clarity and balance, the way the clouds mirror the group’s formation, everything so perfectly captured without benefit of setup…or retouching.
A blessed fluke.
Now I’m left wondering who they were, and what happened to their loved one, because this is how I’ve always been..I wonder about everything, except maybe this:
Godspeed, dear Stranger…you were definitely loved.
Until next time…..